Beauty Products for Black Women Are Full of Dodgy Ingredients

A disproportionately high number of hair and beauty products marketed to black women contain potentially harmful ingredients, according to a new investigation by a consumer advocacy and environmental research organization.

It’s up to companies and manufacturers to make sure products are safe—not the FDA.

The Environmental Working Group reviewed more than 1,000 products for black women, including body washes, lipsticks, and hair treatment products. Of these, about 1 in 12 was ranked highly hazardous by the EWG’s scoring system.

The worst-scoring products were bleaching creams, hair coloring treatments, and hair relaxers. Popular products and brands that were analyzed include Miss Jessie’s Baby ButterCreme, Shea Moisture Nourishing, CoverGirl Queen CC Cover + Care Cream and supermodel Iman’s IMAN Cosmetics CC Correct & Cover.

Less than a quarter of all the products analyzed by the EWG scored low in potentially hazardous ingredients—things like hormone-disrupting parabens, chemicals linked to skin cancer, and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives that can increase the risk of skin allergies—in the group’s analysis. By comparison, about 40 percent of health and beauty products targeted to the general public fell into the low-risk category. …

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